I am sorry in advance if this is a touchy subject and causes offense or hurt feelings. I don't mean to offend at all. I am the sister of a special needs kid, the proud aunt of an autistic child, and I work in peds nursing and most of the patients I treat have special needs.
Anyway, so my daughter is in Jr. High band this year and hoping to join marching band in high school. She plays percussion. The high school has invited the Jr. High kids to participate in the halftime show of the next home game. At the rehearsal there was a Jr. High boy who was autistic. He played percussion, too. He did not want to wear the harness that holds the drum whih I totally get. The band director made arrangements for him and his mom to carry the drum to the marching positions so he could play it. I think that's great and I am glad to see inclusion for kids who can participate and contribute to the band. I have seen kids march while pushed in wheelchairs, and guided while being blind. All very cool.
What I have the issue with is the kid is not able to play drums along with everyone else. He keeps playing when the other stop, and it's disruptive. I found out that he is also in the concert band and will be going to the festivals where the bands compete for scores. From what I observed he is not even close to playing the music. He is pretty much doing his own thing and his mom will hold his sticks to stop him several seconds after everyone else has stopped. I just don't think he should be a part of the band for the competitive events. If he wants to be in the band rehearsals, great. I think it's good for him and for the other kids, too. If he can do something else in the band during performances, great.
When it comes down to it, it's not a matter of his being disabled. It's a matter of him not being able to play the music. The band teacher expects all the kids to be able to play the music and if they don't pass the tests to show they can play it, they are sometimes not allowed to compete. Same with any activity-- for example if a kid is not able to understand the rules of soccer, they are not put in a soccer game when there are points at stake. The band director and the parents have been placed into an awkward situation.
What do you think? I am not in a situation to be able to do anything about this, but what could be some possible solutions for this young man who obviously wants to participate?